Saturday, August 15, 2009

Foo Fighters Greatest Hits in November

Foo Fighters have announced that they will be releasing a collection this November and it will include two new songs recorded with Butch Vig. One of the two songs is "Wheels", which they debuted at the Independence Day celebration on 4th July. The Foos have an extensive catalogue of six studio albums and plenty of hits, so it won't be a problem filling out a 1CD compilation. The problem is, which hits do they put in?

Before we get there, the more interesting point for me is that they're enlisting Butch Vig as their producer. Butch produced Nirvana's "Nevermind" album in 1991 and Dave contributed his drumming services to the song "Bad Boyfriend" for Garbage's "Bleed Like Me" album in 2005. But besides that, they haven't worked together for 18 years.

Butch recently twiddled the knobs for Green Day's magnum opus "21st Century Breakdown" and did a good job there. Hope his collaboration on the 2 new Foos songs will be as good and maybe even spark off a full production role for their next album.

So, back to the tracklist. Assuming we can fit 16 songs in the album, including the 2 new songs, we'll have to pick 14 of Foos' biggest hits. This is probably how the tracklist will look like:

1. Wheels (new song)
2. New song
3. This Is A Call
4. I'll Stick Around
5. Big Me
6. Monkey Wrench
7. Everlong
8. My Hero
9. Walking After You
10. Learn To Fly
11. All My Life
12. Times Like These
13. Best Of You
14. The Pretender
15. Long Road To Ruin
16. Let It Die

Ok, "Let it Die" might not make it in, but it's a personal favourite of mine. If it's not in, it will probably be replaced by "Breakout", which I don't really like but it seems to get a good response when played live every time.

I'm looking forward to the new songs and I also hope that there will be an accompanying DVD release. But the DVD should include not just the videos for these 16 songs but ALL their videos.

The album title is not out yet but I hope it's something poetic like "Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace" and not just the boring "Greatest Hits" or "Collection".

One of my favourite hits compilation album title is Janet's "Design Of A Decade". Classy and sums it up perfectly - how these songs from the past 10 years of her career have shaped the music industry and her career, while also implying that it is not a "greatest hits" collection and there are more hits to come.

Let's wait and see what they can come up with come November.


Monday, August 10, 2009

The Ultimate Boy & Girl Groups List

So I've been doing my research on the best boy and girl groups songs, as I looked back at the good old days of the 90's. Well, some would call them boy/girl bands but I prefer not to, as the word "band" implies that these guys/gals play instruments, which they do not. They might be capable of playing the guitar or drums or whatever in their free time or in the later part of their careers, but while they were in the group, their primary role was singing (and dancing), hence I would rather call them "groups" instead of "bands".

Thus, this definition also excludes those teeny-bopper bands such as Hanson, The Moffatts or The Jonas Brothers, who would be rightly called "boy bands". I'm only interested in remembering the vocal groups who entertained us with their (sometimes cheesy) songs and (most of the time cheesy) dance moves.

While the "boyband" movement was largely a 90's phenomenon, America already had their first prototype in the early 80's with New Edition. Formed in 1978, New Edition comprised of six African-American teenage boys who sang R&B and were inspired by the Jackson 5. They found mainstream success in 1983 and were big enough for Madonna to open for them during their early days. New Edition paved the way for New Kids On The Block (essentially a white version of New Edition) and Boyz II Men.

The girls came onboard too and the late 80's saw the formation of more African-American groups like Salt-N-Pepa, En Vogue and SWV (Sisters With Voices). They were as successful as their male counterparts, and had their fair share of hit singles.

On the other side of the Atlantic, Take That were the first pop group who enjoyed success in the UK. They reigned from 1990 to 1995, and their split in 1996 (sparked by the departure of Robbie Williams a year earlier) led to a new wave of "boyband"-mania, with acts like Backstreet Boys, *NSYNC, Boyzone and Westlife filling the gap.

It took me quite a while to decide on the 50 songs below - which songs to include and which to omit. As mentioned, while New Edition broke new ground in the 80's, they're not in my list because they didn't have any memorable hit in the 90's and beyond. Boyz II Men might be considered a "vocal group" rather than a "pop group" but they did have their cheesy days in the early part of their career. And they were huge in the 90's, with a string of hit singles.

I also included more contemporary groups like the Pussycat Dolls, Danity Kane and Sugababes because they are some of the few remaining girl groups left standing today, and they were clearly inspired by those that came before them. There are some on the list that I was initially reluctant to include because I felt that they weren't big enough, but I thought they deserved an honourable mention, since they were still part of the movement, even though they didn't quite achieve the same level of success as the others (I'm sure you'll know which ones I'm talking about). Oh, and yes, I needed to make it 50 for the list.

Lastly, some of the groups had multiple smash hits, but ultimately, I picked the song that I liked the most, even though it might not be their biggest hit. It's a tough choice to make for groups like *NSYNC or Backstreet Boys, whose Greatest Hits albums were really quite decent. But yeah, I had to pick just one, and I did.

Ok, so here it is...the Ultimate Boy & Girl Groups List! (Not in order of preference)

1. Backstreet Boys - Anywhere For You
2. *NSYNC - This I Promise You
3. Take That - Back For Good
4. Westlife - Swear It Again
5. Boyzone - Love Me For A Reason
6. Spice Girls - Wannabe
7. 98 Degrees - Because Of You
8. Damage - Forever
9. Blue - All Rise
10. A1 - Caught In The Middle
11. 911 - The Day We Find Love
12. All Saints - Pure Shores
13. S Club 7 - Never Had A Dream Cme True
14. Atomic Kitten - Whole Again
15. East 17 - Stay Another Day
16. Bardot - These Days
17. B*Witched - Blame It On The Weatherman
18. Code Red - This Is Our Song
19. Human Nature - Wishes
20. Steps - It's The Way You Make Me Feel
21. PJ & Duncan - Eternal Love
22. O-Town - All Or Nothing
23. Plus One - Last Flight Out
24. NKOTB - Summertime
25. LFO - Summer Girls
26. Sugababes - Overload
27. 5ive - Keep On Movin'
28. Another Level - From The Heart
29. BBMak - Back Here
30. 4 P.M. - Sukiyaki
31. Boyz II Men - On Bended Knee
32. All-4-One - I Swear
33. Eternal - Angel Of Mine
34. En Vogue - Free Your Mind
35. Salt-N-Pepa (with En Vogue) - Whatta Man
36. SWV - Right Here/Human Nature
37. TLC - Waterfalls
38. 3T - Anything
39. Danity Kane - Damaged
40. Pussycat Dolls - Stickwitu
41. Destiny's Child - Survivor
42. Hear'Say - Pure And Simple
43. Liberty X - Holding On For You
44. M2M - Pretty Boy
45. Ultra - Say It Once
46. OTT - Story Of Love
47. MyTown - Now That I Found You
48. Take 5 - I Give
49. Solid Harmonie - I'll Be There For You
50. Mis-Teeq - Scandalous